From Sketchbook


A Mixed-Media Life

There’s been so many different things happening in my world lately.  It’s a mixed-media-life dontcha know!

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a class with Misty Mawn.  I’d never met her, but had done her online classes.  Misty is so funny and a truly generous soul.  The girl over-delivers let me tell you – I have enough ideas to keep me busy for the next year!

The combination of story and painting is something I’ve been musing on lately.  Misty’s class dove deep into that process.  I will share more as it unfolds in my studio.  Meanwhile, here’s a couple of quick sketches and a small painting from the class.










Tomorrow, I begin another workshop with Katie Kendrick!!  I went to one last year too – but couldn’t resist another opportunity. Katie is beyond talented!

Ya know, I have done many classes, both online and in-person.  But I dig the in-person workshops so much, I’m trying to do that as often as possible.  Being in the company of other artists touches my creative soul like nothing else can!

There’s also been art play in the journal too.  The writing journals I use are hand made by Jenni Bick and are a combination of writing and “artist” papers.  My latest has so many watercolor papers, I’ve been inspired to do more “art” than I usually do there.

A bit of paint or marker, some quick and clean collage and ta-da!

Purty pages!!



There’s been work on the easel too.  I think my daily walks are leading to lots of abstracted flowers and nature-inspired paintings.  Here’s a new one.

"Honeycomb and Fae"
“Honeycomb and Fae”

Speaking of walks.  I believe today is day 141 of my self-imposed-daily-challenge.  Because I can never resist starting my day like this….


As for who I’ve been hanging with, a stray kitty has adopted me.  Sigh. He’s the loviest-most-affectionate cat ever!

Too bad my mean dog won’t have him in the house.  I’m working hard to find him an inside home.  It’ll be safer for him (and the neighborhood birds).


And well, these birds – they may be the funniest/coolest people I know!  They keep me young and maybe a bit hipper than I would’ve been without them in my life.

Yeah . . . I’m probably not ever been hip.



Art-On-The-Go “Kits”

I do have some mad organization skills!  That, combined with a lifelong purse obsession, a tendency to hoard art supplies and a desire to tote them everywhere is the “perfect storm”!

It’s manifested in an crazy array of “art to go” kits.  Perfect for jaunts to desert or beach, art journal picnics or attending yet another art retreat.

I thought I’d share them with you today.  I’ll put some links to various supplies in case you’re interested – and BTW the links do NOT earn me affiliate fees.  They are things I really use and love.  Almost everything can be had on Amazon.

This first kit is for “traveling light”.  I use this set up most often – it’s great for road trips or for a sketch date at the beach.

In this hand painted clutch I can fit a travel set of watercolor, a sketchbook or journal, and a zip case full of pens, tape, scissors and glue.  I also love to include my portable photo printer.  It prints pics from my iPhone and even has sticky back paper – perfect for sticking straight into my journal!  

It’s not unusual for me to pack an inspirational book – this one’s about Dan Eldon – the guy who first inspired me to art journal!


In my world, everything is an art project.  I love to take canvas or cotton totes and alter them with paint.  I use regular acrylic paints and find they do not fade or wash out.  The flowered tote below was originally a gift-with-purchase bag from Victoria Secret – it’s at least 5 years old and hasn’t faded a bit.


What’s organization without a pen bag?  It holds more than I really can ever use – it’s awesome!  My husband’s bag (the green one) is filled with his cigar accessories and other man gear.  No, I do not smoke cigars lol!


My second art kit has many more supplies to choose from.  It’s the perfect “portable studio” for longer travels or for an in-person art journaling class.


The organizer is really cool!  It has a lift out tray for sketching or art journaling in my lap – and of course being plastic, it’s waterproof.  It holds quite a lot.  In it goes tapes, a sharpener, glue, water brushes, a spray bottle of water, standard watercolors, little jars of shimmery water colors and water-soluble markers and pencils.

There’s plenty of room for a sketchbook or two – I may even throw in a guided journal like one from Shiloh Sophia McCloud.  Again, I love to carry a camera for taping in photos.  This one prints self developing mini’s similar to the old polaroid cameras.




This final kit is full blown!  This amazing box allows me to carry everything needed for a days long painting retreat, except the canvas itself.

In it, I can carry paints, brushes, paint pens, a painting shirt or apron, an art journal (or two), a full size camera and more.  Pretty much anything can find a place.  Well maybe not the humungous inspiration book . . . it’s an incredible collection of art journal images by Peter Beard – another favorite artist of mine.


I bound the journal to the right of the white camera myself –  it’s soft and mushy which I love.  I ripped the cover to size from one of my own un-stretched paintings on canvas.  I filled it with luscious creamy 140 lb. hot press Fabriano watercolor paper – the best paper ever made in my opinion!!


They even make the box in other colors and sizes.  I’m seriously lusting over the turquoise one. There’s even a cool fabric one (that I will not admit to owning – uh huh).  I believe this box may have changed my life – well, my creative life – a bit, anyways!  


Tell me . . . do you HAVE to tote art supplies wherever you go too?  Am I alone in this?  Do you go on sketching dates and art journal picnics and painting retreats?





The Practice of Keeping Studio “Field Notes”

DSC_0202Admittedly, I’m a sketchbook and journal junkie.  My studio cabinet is FULL of them!!  At any one time, I have several sketchbooks in the works.  I obviously need a place for pattern play, sketches, doodles, images, resonating words, ideas and ramblings.





But with so many places to play, I have scattered information that’s truly relevant to my evolution as an artist – things like ideas, project notes, class to do’s, creative goals, successes and yes, even “failures”!



Yeah, I don’t know why it took me so long to realize the importance of keeping all my creative chatter in one place – and in chronological order.  Duh.

Many moons ago, when I was a student of archaeology and geology, we were graded on keeping “field notes”.  Our professors required we keep our notebooks with us at all times. They would periodically collect them for reviewing, sharing good and bad practices with the class – and of course, marking up with their comments in bold red.  Our books typically counted upwards of 25% of our final class grade!

Working in my field journal was my favorite thing to do.  I actually enjoyed documenting my findings, making little sketches and notes of project details.  I’m a born researcher and information “collector” – I do so love to learn!  I seriously can’t believe I haven’t applied this technique to my art making/studio time before now.

When I had the inspiration to begin keeping formal studio field notes, I pulled out the typical black bound artist sketchbook.  However, I was quickly turned off by the size.  I craved intimate and portable – more like the notebooks I kept back in school.


Oh oh!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE my leather notebook cover from Zenok Leather!  I pulled it from my stash.  The cover allows me to carry up to 4 Moleskine Cahiers. Perfect!  (I prefer the cahiers with gridded paper – reminds me of my science days.)

Should I need even greater portability, I can remove and carry the one notebook I’m working in – say to a museum for sketch day or to a workshop or class.  Cool, huh?


(FYI:  my leather cover was originally a light beige – I had a shoe repair shop dye the outside black when I tired of the color – so the inside is different than it probably would be from Zenok.)





 Do you have a similar practice?

Am I the last artist on Earth to do this??  Do tell.



2015 . . . More Of This Please







Canvas and paper.  Writing at dawn.  Exotic fragrance on wrist.  Puppy dog breath.  Adventure seeking.  Wide open spaces.  Fountain pen scratches.  Deep belly inhales/long emptying exhales.  Art journal picnics.  World music beats.  Riots of color.  Lift-me-off-the-floor bear hugs.  Warm suppers in laps.  Candle lit evenings.  Stacks of filled journals.  Fresh starts.  Inspiring reads.  Fringe and cashmere.  Creamy coffee mornings/Chocolate chai tea afternoons.  Nature’s cathedrals.  True partnering.  Sacred space.  Mojo Mondays.  Piles of blankets.  Studio time.  Face to face.  Blue jeans and cowboy boots.  Art supply addiction.  Dream chasing.  Movie marathons.  Desert days/beach-y nights.  Myth, magic and lore.  Pajama days.  Kohl rimmed eyes.  Clean open windows.  Ethnic prints (everywhere).  Epic stories.  Soul Fire.  Day-long artist dates.  Sisters in paint.  Hot pink orchids.  Moonlit walks.  Turquoise with silver.  Hours of power.  Collecting shades of lipstick.  Creative abandon.  Horseplay and romps.  Puns and nicknames.  Snuggles, warm kisses.  Neons and neutrals.  Hiking trail sunrises and bicycled lunches.  Exploration and discovery.

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